New College Wrestling Programs Plan to Hit the Ground Running in 2010
While many of the college opportunities for wrestling continue to shrink from lack of funding, legislative roadblocks and administrative apathy, NCWA Leaders continue to add programs at record numbers
The Newest Wrestling division continued it's rapid expansion and growth strategy with a renewed commitment to more quality opportunities this past 2009-10 season. The numbers of college wrestlers competing in the NCWA last year grew by an amazing 18%.
In addition to more athletes the NCWA introduced more Teams, more Coaches and more Volunteers to the ever-expanding vision of having a wrestling program on every campus in the country.
Last seasons new Teams included: University of Michigan, MIT, East Tennessee, Gavilan (CA.), Harvard, Hampton, Penn State / Dubois, Wagner (NY) & Wayne State.
This coming 2010-11 season will be no different. Over 20 teams are looking into membership with the NCWA as well as four teams transitioning divisions from DII to DI or from NAIA to DII.
The list of new programs begins in Upper Peninsula of Michigan as Lake Superior State makes plans to revive its former DII program disbanded in 1994. Former Olivet All-American Eric Thomas has been tapped for the head coaching spot for the Lakers. Coach Thomas anticipates a successful recruiting class and along with returning sophomores Harvey Lee, James Miller and Ricky Bova plans for a strong first season.
Along with Lake Superior, The North Central Conference is set to expand by five teams through the addition of University of Minnesota – Duluth, Carthage College, University of Michigan-Dearborn and a new women’s program at Oakland University.
Along the eastern seaboard the NCWA is looking at program additions at Rutgers, Penn State – New Kensington, Marshall University, Saint Benedict Prep and Northeast Community College.
Not to be outdone the West Coast Conference looks to bring on board
a strong coalition of programs beginning in the Northwest with both
Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University have contacted the NCWA with a request to join the growing western contingent. In addition Southwestern Oregon Community College is looking to add a women’s program while the University of California San Diego plans to rekindle it’s program this year.
The Middle of the country will not be left out of the expansion as teams from Utah to Southern Texas are breaking into the NCWA fold. Utah’s Dixie State College is recruiting to a wrestling club for the first time in it’s history. Emporia State University in Kansas will work to hit the mats again this fall as well as newly formed University of Texas – San Antonio.
Central Washington University
University of Minnesota Duluth
Eastern Washington University
Montgomery County Community College
University of Michigan – Dearborn
University of Wisconsin – River Falls
Penn State – New Kensington
University of Texas – San Antonio
Washington University (MO)
Southwestern Oregon Community College
Northeast Community College
Dixie State College
University of North Florida
Through active recruiting at member institutions coaches have greatly expanded their individual lineups and provided more competition opportunities than ever before.
But we have only just begun. With NCWA NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA have been respected collegiate divisions for years, but it's time for the NCWA to step into the fold. More and more of the wrestling community is beginning to understand and embrace the mission and vision of the NCWA.
It's time for Coaches, Fans & Alumni to see the NCWA for what it is. The best hope to grow new programs at the college level. The NCWA has added an average of 12 teams a year for the past 13 years.... that's an unmatchable record of success. The NCWA will always continue to support our sister associations, we will work to move teams to higher levels of success, and in some cases help push teams to NCAA athletic programs. But that's not happening fast enough. Although Some NCWA teams have matured into NCAA DII and DIII contenders like Newberry or Belmont Abbey, Most programs grow and mature while remaining part of the NCWA, Currently 26 teams are funded through their respective athletic departments. 33 teams offer various forms of athletic scholarships or tuition assistance. Our Leadership Volunteers have found a better way to skin the Title IX cat to grow college wrestling.